Although this journey doesn’t seem very inspiring, there may be few things that will be an eye-opener for all you folks who read this. What I’ve learned during this on-going journey is “Everything is measurable, so we need to measure it in a way that is meaningful to us and use it for our benefit”. You may think that I’m a CPA and It is my tendency to measure everything. However, If this one thing you would add to all your equation, you will know whether your hard work is truly making progress.
I’ll give my strategy first so you can skim through the rest of my story. However, please consult your physician before going into any weight-loss regimen, because your case may be different than my case or anyone else. Likewise, I have been in frequent touch with my physician. He is a great guy who looks at my issue holistically than just giving me some medicine to help with the symptoms. It was after I changed my physician, I started thinking differently and seeing connections between all my health issues.
Strategies (I followed, that may work for almost everyone on a budget):
- Got a fitness activity tracking watch with an HR monitor. If you are on a budget, take a pre-owned watch and deep sanitize it(Pandemic free). I didn’t use apple or android watches, as they need charging every day and I’m a lazy guy. I got Garmin Forerunner 935. It worked best and I wore it all day.
- Measured my Blood Glucose 4 Times a day. I checked Fasting levels as soon as I wake up in the morning, before my lunch, 2 hours after my lunch, and before I go to my bed. I used Dario because it syncs with my Apple health kit and it is very inexpensive. Nothing really made sense for me until I started doing this and controlling my body sugar.
- Picked a specific type of nutrition. Keto worked for me. It can be something else for you. I chose to be in less than 20 grams of carb each day, I was able to eat a lot of things in my nutrition budget, like lettuce/iceberg salads, cucumbers, baby spinach, Brussel sprouts, asparagus, avocados, broccoli, cauliflower, and a lot more. I strictly avoided packaged or processed foods. I had fish, chicken and other things cooked by myself. Also Eggs, Eggs, and Eggs, No milk or any sugar or things that had carb or sugar more than 2 grams in its single serving.
- Ate on a caloric deficit. I measured my food intake using myfitnesspal, and there are thousands of free apps to do the same thing, that will sync with your apple health kit or google health app. I used an aggressive caloric deficit of 500-1000 calories less than my daily requirement (recommended by my fitness watch and calorie counting app), however, made sure I ate more than 1500 calories of intake.
- Monitored my weight every day and noted it down. Again I got an inexpensive weighing scale that has Bluetooth to sync with my Apple health kit and measures other vitals such as Body Fat % (BFP) and Body Mass Index(BMI) along with a bunch of things like muscle, water percentage, etc which I’ve not used. The scale is around 20$ on Amazon.com and it’s my best investment.
And I waited for three days to understand how it all works. The magic started after three days. I was able to track how my food intake was working with my activities and my body vitals such as sugar, pulse, blood pressure, and of course my weight. It took me three days to dispense all the glycogen from my liver and all the three days I suffered extensive craving, and those three days were when I really hated living without eating things I considered normal.
It was the eve of Thanksgiving I made up my mind that I’ll no longer be lethargic and procrastinating about my health. A few days earlier I met my Primary care physician and my blood work had elevated glucose levels indicating I’m diabetic (@129mg/dL). Also, My liver levels and my blood pressure were very high. I was just set up with my sleep study because I was unable to sleep more than 3-4 hours per day.
I’ve been struggling with sleep apnea for since past few years, as I lacked what I call “a healthy sleep” almost every day. Few times, I tried to catch up with power-naps during the day and end-up snoring and waking myself in minutes as soon as I pass out. There are days that I kept awake until 2-3 am in the morning and I started feeling more stressed that I couldn’t catch up the sleep. All these caused high blood pressure and excruciating headaches, I started grinding my jaws and I developed knee pains and frequent hemorrhoids, and I was literally feeling miserable.
I was in very bad shape physically, and mentally. I was 230 pounds on the eve of thanksgiving. And I felt very depressed, I couldn’t sleep as well. I wanted to do something about it. I weighed 230 pounds and looked big.
I just wanted to start measuring my weight every day and make sure I walk 5000 steps every day without fail. My goal was to start simple changes and maintain consistency. However, I was weighing between 220 – 230 pounds during the past year. So I wanted to do a little more and started exploring how I can impact more. This was when my second blood work came with very high glucose levels indicating that I’m clinically diabetic. My father has been diagnosed with diabetes and I could see his struggles to manage his levels and medications. I wanted to avoid medication at all costs. I decided to do something very aggressive that can have an impact, and I spent sleepless nights, but this time I put it to use in reviewing and finding a glucose meter and easy dieting that will fit my lifestyle. Most of the online results mentioned carb monitoring, and caloric deficit for weight loss and attributed obesity to all the health issues.
My glucose results were quite shocking and concerning me, however I had a plan to progress.
I started putting all my strategies together, and I slowly started seeing changes. I’m making decisions about my next day’s food intake the previous night and recording in my calorie counting app. This helps me not only to budget my nutrition but also be aware of what I need in terms of grocery well ahead.
And the results are a steady decline in my weight and my blood glucose levels. As of today, my glucose levels are under 100mg/dL and my weight is less than 210 pounds.
In the entire journey I had tremendous support of my family. Although I still struggle with my sleep apnea, catching up less than 5 hours of sleep most of the day, I feel more energetic and am thinking better.
My goals are to be under 170 pounds and grow more muscles and be back to a normal food types. Well its a long journey and hope you are willing to be with me and hope we can motivate each others.